I really need some help and am unsure what to do. I am 32 years old and have only attended a handful of emergency dental appointments since my mid teens due to a phobia. My most recent appointment to the emergency dentist (due to a broken tooth) has led to a referral to an oral surgeon for extraction of the tooth. I have attended the initial consultation and now I am also planned to have one of my wisdom teeth out also.
My problem is, I can’t think of any way possible to attend for this surgery which has been booked for the end of this month. I am absolutely terrified. I know I need this surgery, I have been unable to eat properly for 3 months. But having not had a normal dentist appointment in almost 20 years due to this fear, I feel it has just gone too far. I don’t know what to do.
My primary fears which lead me to avoiding regular dental check-ups are: being trapped in the chair, unable to move; having somebody in my mouth; and feeling like I can’t breathe. In addition to this, the thought of surgery also makes me fear complications that could lead to illness or pain.
What makes this even worse is that I know this is absolutely irrational, and know that given I am a CBT therapist, I should be able to do something about this. However, as is common with all phobias, avoidance is far easier than dealing with the distress…and even when I do try I am just absolutely overwhelmed. Turning to a colleague for help would not be an appropriate course of action.
I do not know what to do. I want this surgery, but am too scared to go through with it. Your insight would be greatly appreciated.
Dr Jennifer Pinder
Bupa Dental Centre
36-38 Cornhill, London, EC3V 3ND
Web: www.dentistforphobics.co.uk Tel: 0207 200 5800